Who is Ezra Miller? What you should know about the embattled star of ‘The Flash’

Three separate images of an actor looking toward the camera
Actor Ezra Miller at a Grammys after-party in 2020, left; at the “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” London premiere in 2018, right; and during a video court appearance in Hawaii in April 2022.
(Mark Von Holden / Invision/AP; Hawaii State Judiciary via AP; Joel C. Ryan / Invision/AP)

At 29, Ezra Miller has become one of the movie industry’s most sought-after actors, including an upcoming starring role in the 2023 DC feature “The Flash.” But Miller also recently was arrested for low-level criminal behavior in Hawaii and accused of grooming and abusing an 18-year-old from North Dakota.

So who is Ezra Miller? A look back at some defining roles, interviews and news reports sheds some light.

For the record:

10:14 a.m. June 15, 2022An earlier version of this story referred to “The Flash” as a Marvel film. “The Flash” is a DC property. It also said the titular character in “Cakey, the Cake From Outer Space” was an evil cake that terrorizes the universe. That is untrue.

The actor, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, was born Ezra Matthew Miller in 1992, the youngest of three kids, in what they once told Interview were the “dirty depths” of New Jersey. Miller described having a “very wonderful, magical childhood” in a place that had a high concentration of wealth and a low concentration of “human happiness.”

Standing Rock activist Chase Iron Eyes accuses “The Flash” star Ezra Miller of grooming his child and is seeking a protective order against the actor.


To correct a severe speech impediment, Miller took up singing, which had the side effect of helping them land a “grade-school residency” with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Before hitting double digits, age-wise, they switched from opera to acting, and at age 16 Miller dropped out of high school to pursue acting full-time. Around that time, they landed a gig on a premium-cable show.

Here is a timeline of key moments in Miller’s career and personal life.

‘Cakey! The Cake From Outer Space’ (2006)

Miller’s first credited role, per IMDb, is as a bully who cheers on a friend as said friend beats up on lead character Duncan, a dorky kid whose best friend is a cake from outer space. Seriously. Notable lines in Miller’s brief appearance included “What a loser” and “Shut up, gayhole.” Miller appeared only once in the series, which had eight five-minute episodes split over two seasons.

‘Californication’ (2008)

This is where Miller went mainstream with their fourth credited role. In a five-episode story arc on the Showtime series, Miller plays Damien Patterson, an eccentric teen who digs Guitar Hero and for a while becomes the boyfriend of Becca Moody (Madeleine Martin), the preternaturally intelligent daughter of lead character Hank Moody (David Duchovny).

‘Royal Pains’ (2009-2010)

Miller stars as rich 16-year-old hemophiliac Tucker Bryant, one of the earliest patients of Hamptons concierge doctor Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein). In the pilot, Tucker suffers a medical emergency after wrecking his rich father’s Ferrari. In his fifth appearance on the series, in season 2, the Ferrari is back and so is Tucker, who by the end of the episode announces his grandfather has given him all his money, as well as control over his absent father’s allowance.

That triumph is Miller’s final appearance on the USA Network show. They are about to cross over on the big screen.

‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ (2011)

In Miller’s breakout movie role, they play the teen version of Kevin, the “frighteningly manipulative” and ultimately psychopathic son of Tilda Swinton’s Eva Khatchadourian. It’s a dark story that shows Eva’s memories of her oldest child in retrospect two years after he commits a horrifying mass murder.

“We see Kevin over the course of his life become more and more of a monster. And her resentment grows stronger until there’s this explosion of rage and they’re at war,” Miller said in March 2011. “That performance was entirely about finding all of the anger and the resentment inherent to mother and child. It’s just a scary truth. And it’s a very old story that’s entirely under-told. It’s too dark. Too dirty.”

Movie review: ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’

Miller comes out (2012)

“I’m queer,” they tell Out magazine in August 2012. “I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular.” Miller said that when they were younger they “went from having a stutter to being a totally gay little opera singer to being, like, a really confused queer adolescent.”

Speaking about the subject matter of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Miller said, “[Bullying] does come with the territory of being a lesbian/gay/bi/queer/trans person in the public school system. And that’s been getting a little bit better, for parts of that spectrum, but not really. How far have we really come? I’m not sure. That’s up for debate.”

‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ (2012)

A tall person sings with their arms around a boy and a girl standing on either side of them
Logan Lerman, left, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
(John Bramley / Associated Press)

Miller makes their mark as Patrick, a “brazenly eccentric” high school senior who with stepsister Sam (Emma Watson) drags depressed freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) along for the ride as they all try to figure out who they are.

“[I]t is Miller, so chilling opposite Tilda Swinton in ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin,’ who gives the minutiae that consume teen conversations some much appreciated jolts of electricity,” former L.A. Times critic Betsy Sharkey wrote. “He gets better with every role.”

Movie review: ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is a smart standout

‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ (2016)

Miller has cameos as Barry Allen — the Flash — for the first time in the shared universe of DC superhero films. More on “The Flash” later, but the actor’s appearances in the two films pique the attention of DC fans.

‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ (2016)

A young person in a plain black suit stands with a forlorn expression
Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
(Jaap Buitendijk / ©2016 Warner Bros. )

Miller brings the reticent Credence Barebone to life in the first of the “Fantastic Beasts” movies, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s books. Clarence’s hidden powers are drawn out in several furtive conversations with Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), who is not exactly the person he appears to be.

“These scenes read like sexual predation, especially when Mr. Farrell’s character leans close to Mr. Miller’s, his voice seductively purring as their two black silhouettes nearly blur into one,” New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis wrote in her review. “They’re especially unsettling because they play into deeply noxious stereotypes that can still emerge when an older man meets a sensitive lad in the shadows...”

‘Justice League’ (2017)

A person in a red superhero outfit with gold accents stares ahead intently.
Ezra Miller as the Flash in “Justice League.”
(Clay Enos / ™ © DC Comics)

Barry Allen/The Flash — played by Miller — finally gets a real gig as one of Bruce Wayne/Batman’s first recruits for a planned showdown against the evil Steppenwolf and his parademons, following the death of Superman. Batman (Ben Affleck) pulls together Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to help take on the threat, but Allen is definitely the comic relief.

In “Justice League,” the Flash brings, according to former L.A. Times movie critic Kenneth Turan, “a genuinely amusing portrait of comic earnestness and gee-whiz enthusiasm and naivete nicely done by Miller. When he cheerfully asks Bruce Wayne what his superpower is, the answer is a curt ‘I’m rich.’” When the longer “Snyder Cut” of the film finally arrives five years later, L.A. Times film critic Justin Chang notes that Miller ably represents the younger generation as “the team’s lightning-limbed goofball.”

They say there’s strength in unity, but you wouldn’t know it from the handful of heroes who make up “Justice League.”

Miller redefines their queerness (2018)

“Queer just means no, I don’t do that,” Miller tells the Hollywood Reporter while smoking a joint on their Vermont ranch. “I don’t identify as a man. I don’t identify as a woman. I barely identify as a human.”

Miller also speaks about stardom, saying, “If you watch the world, the cults of celebrity and the fanatics of celebrities, that’s what governs the world now. So, you’re a politician or you’re whoever, you’re just a celebrity with a fan club, like me. You know? And we’re all probably mentally ill. I watch television or the news and I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s my people. We’re all mentally ill together. Cool.’”

A person in a black quilted puffer that forms a triangle shape starting at their head
Ezra Miller at the November 2018 world premiere of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” in Paris.
(Christophe Ena / Associated Press)

The Reykjavik incident (2020)

A seven-second video surfaces in April 2020 that appears to show Miller saying to a female fan in Reykjavik, Iceland, ”Oh, you wanna fight? That’s what you wanna do?” The woman jokingly prepares to fight — and then Miller grabs her by the throat and wrestles her to the ground.

The incident, sparked by a group of “quite pushy” fans, occurred in a trendy bar the actor frequents when they’re in town, according to Variety. Miller, who the trade paper reported was “upset and angry,” was escorted out of the bar by staffers.

‘The Stand’ (2021)

Miller plays a character who is drawn to the dark side in a CBS All Access (now Paramount+) miniseries based on Stephen King’s novel “The Stand.” They portray Trashcan Man, a.k.a. Donald Merwin Elbert, a mentally ill arsonist who wanders out of prison in the wake of a flu that wipes out most of humanity. Trash later goes on a cross-country journey to bring a nuclear warhead back to Las Vegas, where evil icon Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgård) has set up shop.

‘The Flash’ is in the can (2021)

On Oct. 17, 2021, “The Flash” director Andy Muschietti announces via social media that principal filming on the movie has wrapped. It is more than a year before the film’s originally scheduled Nov. 4, 2022, release date — but that date will later get bumped to 2023.

The movie is Miller’s first opportunity to lead a superhero feature.

The downtown Hilo dispute (2022)

Police are called to a dispute on March 19 in downtown Hilo, Hawaii, where Miller is allegedly “uncooperative,” according to an assistant police chief, and refuses to leave the area. The actor continues to obstruct a sidewalk, and in return they are cited by police for obstructing a highway.

The karaoke bar arrest (2022)

A person with chin-length dark hair and a collared shirt poses for a mug shot
Ezra Miller’s booking photo after being arrested over an incident at a karaoke bar.
(Hawaii Police Dept. via Associated Press)

Miller is arrested after an incident at a bar in Hilo on March 28. At the bar, Miller allegedly became “agitated” when people began singing karaoke. The actor yelled obscenities and grabbed the microphone from a woman who was singing, earning themself a disorderly conduct charge. They later lunged at a man who was playing darts, notching a harassment charge.

“The bar owner asked Miller to calm down several times to no avail,” police said. Miller posts $500 bail and is quickly released.

Ezra Miller, who plays the Flash in the DC Comics film, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment early Monday in Hawaii.

The restraining order (2022)

A couple gets a restraining order against Miller, accusing the actor of barging into their bedroom and threatening them at a Hilo hostel. The documents say Miller “burst into the bedroom of the petitioner(s) and threatened” the man by “saying ‘I will bury you and your s— wife.’” They also allege that Miller took items including a passport and a wallet.

The order is dropped two weeks later, on April 14, at the couple’s request, just before Miller is scheduled to appear at a hearing on the matter.

A Hawaii couple has dropped a restraining order against ‘Justice League’s’ Ezra Miller, but the embattled star is still facing two other legal cases.

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ (2022)

Released in mid-April, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” was hampered by scandal and COVID-19 — and it shows, according to The Times’ review, which notes that Johnny Depp has been replaced as Grindelwald by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, “who is an improvement and the only actor who seems to be energized in tackling this material.” Issues surrounding writer J.K. Rowling and Miller also are mentioned.

The second arrest (2022)

Miller is arrested again in Hawaii on April 19 after allegedly throwing a chair at a 26-year-old woman’s head at a home in Pāhoa on the Big Island. The actor is taken into custody on suspicion of second-degree assault during a traffic stop around 1:30 a.m. Police say the actor “became irate” when asked to leave a get-together at the home and hurled the chair shortly after 1 a.m., leaving a half-inch cut on the woman’s head.

A few hours later, Miller appears in court via video in the March karaoke bar case and pleads no contest to disorderly conduct.

Ezra Miller was arrested Tuesday in Hawaii after allegedly throwing a chair that struck a woman on the forehead and left a cut, local police said.

The protective order (2022)

The parents of an 18-year-old from North Dakota obtain an interim protective order against Miller on behalf of their child. In documents filed with a tribal court, the parents accuse Miller of grooming and “psychologically manipulating, physically intimidating and endangering the safety and welfare” of their child, Tokata Iron Eyes. (Under tribal law they are still Tokata’s legal guardians.) But the tribal court “cannot locate or serve” the actor with the order.

The family met Miller when the actor got involved in projects the Sioux tribe was working on. Tokata and Miller allegedly met at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota in 2016 when Tokata was 12 and Miller was 23. Miller allegedly exhibited a “pattern of corrupting a minor” and later displayed “cult-like and psychologically manipulative, controlling behavior,” the parents’ petition says.

Miller is accused of giving Tokata alcohol and drugs and flying the teen to London, Vermont, New York, California and Hawaii. Tokata’s parents said they allowed the teen to fly to London with Miller, along with other tribal members, for the “Fantastic Beasts” premiere in 2017. While there, Miller allegedly tried to sleep in the same bed as Tokata, then 14, and was prevented from doing so by a chaperone, according to the petition.

Three movie actors stand abreast for a portrait against a red backdrop.
Ezra Miller, center, stands for a portrait with “Justice League” co-stars Ray Fisher, left, and Jason Momoa.
(Matthew Lloyd / For The Times)

“Ezra uses violence, intimidation, threat of violence, fear, paranoia, delusions, and drugs to hold sway over a young adolescent Tokata,” said the filing, which listed several additional alleged incidents of impropriety. The parents say in their filing that their child previously identified as “non-binary, queer, gay” and that “Ezra has decided that Tokata is non-binary transgender.”

Tokata says in a June 5 statement on Instagram that “my comrade Ezra Miller for the entirety of the aforementioned era has only provided loving support and invaluable protection.” Tokata then posts a video a few days later to refute claims that Tokata did not author the statement.

“If the statements are too profoundly contrasting to whatever assumptions those of us have garnered, and have chosen to carry, I’d like to say that it’s nobody’s business and that no one is owed a story or an outcome,” Tokata says. “This is my life. These are my decisions, and I’m disappointed in my parents and the press in every way.”

Fate of ‘The Flash’ and beyond?

It’s unclear what happens now for Miller, or how any of this will work out. At the moment, the DC Films movie is still slated for release next year. And a fourth “Fantastic Beasts” film is rumored but not confirmed. “Dali Land,” which features Miller as a young Salvador Dalí, has been in postproduction, slated for an unspecified 2023 release.

“People do not understand me. I don’t intend them to, right?” Miller told British GQ in early 2020. “I want a certain amount of confusion and I’m comfortable sharing that. I have plans that not a soul, even in my closest spheres, know of. ... My prerogative is service. I’m here to do what I can for everybody I can do it for.”

Times staff writer Nardine Saad contributed to this report.